Napoleon Bonaparte once said, "Nothing has been simpler than my elevation... It is owing to the peculiarities of the time." Coming to power at a time of instability and disorder in France immediately following the French Revolution, Napoleon quickly established himself as the political leader and military power behind France. Easily and efficiently overthrowing the poorly managed Directory, Napoleon established a three man governing body referred to as the Consulate. Naming himself Consul for Life in 1802, and crowning himself emperor in 1804, Napoleon made it clear that is was a time of dramatic change in France. Although establishing himself as an absolute ruler, Napoleon did it all with the support of the people, through the use of a plebiscite.
Obviously a man that held immense power, Napoleon has been credited with many great successes. To the people of France, Napoleon was a savior, a man who could, despite being an autocrat, implement the ideals of the French Revolution. Establishing order, giving the French people a sense of security, and running his government smoothly became Napoleon's priorities. Through a variety of reforms including, centralizing the government, establishing public education, instituting religious tolerance specifically signing the Concordat of 1801, and stimulating the economy, Napoleon won the support of French people across the classes, including the peasantry who in years previous had suffered greatly under absolute rulers.
One of Napoleon's most lasting reforms was his installment of the Napoleonic Code, a set of laws that reflected the idea of equality so evidently banner ed throughout the French Revolution. Napoleon was able to capture the attention of the French people through every facet except absolutism. Although Napoleon can most definitely be considered a monarch he was not a despot. With all the power of an absolute monarch Napoleon was undoubtedly an autocrat, however, with the support of the French people and the ideals of the French Revolution as a guide, Napoleon brought France to great heights.